Teach Hindi at Howard County Public School System (HCPSS)

Teach Hindi at Howard County Public School System (HCPSS)

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Indian Cultural Association of Howard County started this petition to Board of Education Howard County Public School System

Indian Cultural Association of Howard County
10480 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 220
Columbia, MD  21044
contact@icahoward.org

March 1, 2019

Mavis Ellis, Chair, Board of Education
Howard County Public School System
10910 Clarksville Pike
Ellicott City, MD  21042

Re: Petition to add Hindi as part of HCPSS Foreign Language Curriculum

Madam Chair & Members of the Board of Education,

We are writing to propose adding HINDI AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE as part of the curriculum in Howard County schools.  We are the Founders and Directors of the Indian Cultural Association of Howard County (aka ICA Howard). Our website is icahoward.org

According to Census estimates over the 2012-2016 period (as reported recently in Howard County Times, the most commonly spoken foreign languages in Howard County are:

Spanish: 20.4 percent
Hindi and related: 17.5 percent
Korean: 14.2 percent
Chinese: 11.4 percent

 In Howard County, the largest ethnic group is from the Indian subcontinent - nearly a third of the total Asian population.

Other than Chinese and Spanish, HCPSS currently teaches French, German, Italian, Latin and Russian, and yet, the combined numbers of the last five languages pale in comparison to the Hindi speaking population in Howard County. It is the need of the hour to add the language spoken by its majority minority population to the HCPSS curriculum.

Currently, many Indian parents drive their children to Sunday schools so they can learn Hindi. Given a choice, the families would rather learn Hindi at HCPSS than a language they would rarely have an opportunity to use. Their time would be better spent and HCPSS would have more productive, successful and happy families.  

The principles guiding the HCPSS World Language Program state that language:

  • is best learned in an immersion setting.
  • function takes precedence over language form.
  • learning should begin as early as possible.
  • learning should be available to all students learners are diverse and grow at varying rates in their language learning.
  • learning aligns with 21st century skills and contributes to college and career readiness.
  • and that skills are best measured by proficiency level.

The above underscores the urgency of our pleading to add Hindi to the HCPSS World Language program.

Why Study Hindi?

Hindi is the fourth most-spoken first language in the world, after Mandarin, Spanish, and English (third, if you take into account all of the related languages). It is the official language of India and the most widely spoken language in South Asia. Learning Hindi enables learning other related languages as well – Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Oriya etc. which are also spoken in Howard County in numbers.  (Nearly 18% of Howard County speak Hindi or a related language.)

Please also note that India is projected to be the most populous nation by 2030 and the world’s largest economy in the world by 2050. India is rapidly growing in importance in the world and Hindi is increasingly becoming a ‘critical’ language and a 21st-century skill. It is simply a question of Global Competency. 

There is no better immersion setting than conversing with your parents and grandparents at home in a language they understand. Why not teach a language that 30% of the immigrant population will have an opportunity to use in their everyday life? Howard County Government added a cricket field in Howard County to cater to the Indian population a few years back; it is equally important, if not more, to add the Hindi language in HCPSS schools. 

We look forward to meeting you to discuss this further. Please let us know when would be a suitable time to meet.

Respectfully,


_______________________________                     
Niti Srivastava, Ph.D. Director  
Indian Cultural Association of Howard County                                   


_______________________________ 
Sanjay Srivastava, Director
Indian Cultural Association of Howard County 


_______________________________   
Devansh Srivastava, Director
Indian Cultural Association of Howard County 

Encl:    1) Article in Howard County Times dated January 30, 2019, by Christine Zhang
           
“Diversity by the numbers: As Howard County has grown, so has its racial and cultural mix”
2) HCPSS World Language Policy

Cc:      Kirsten A. Coombs, Vice Chair, Board of Education, HCPSS
Vicky Cutroneo, Member, Board of Education, HCPSS
Christina Delmont-Small, Member, Board of Education, HCPSS
Jennifer Mallo, Member, Board of Education, HCPSS
Sabina Taj, Member, Board of Education, HCPSS
Chao Wu, Ph.D., Member, Board of Education, HCPSS
Ambika Siddabathula, Student Member of the Board of Education, HCPSS
Michael Martirano, Superintendent, HCPSS
Dr. Calvin Ball, Howard County Executive   

 

 

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At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!